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Book on the Bookshelf

ISBN-10: 0375706399
ISBN-13: 9780375706394
Edition: 2000
Authors: Henry Petroski
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Description: A fascinating history of two related common objects - perhaps the greatest technological advances of the last two thousand years: the making and storing of books - from papyrus scrolls to precious medieval codices to the book as we know it, from the  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.95
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 9/12/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 306
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

A fascinating history of two related common objects - perhaps the greatest technological advances of the last two thousand years: the making and storing of books - from papyrus scrolls to precious medieval codices to the book as we know it, from the great library at Alexandria to monastic cells to the Library of Congress.As writing advanced, and with it broader literacy, the development of the book was seemingly inevitable. And as books became more common, the question of where and how to store them became more pertinent. But how did we come from continuous sheets rolled on spools to the ubiquitous portable item you hold in your hand. And how did books come to be stored and displayed vertically and spine out on shelves? Henry Petroski answers these and virtually any other questions we might have about books as he contemplates the history of the book on the bookshelf with his inimitable subtle analysis and intriguing detail.

Henry Petroski is an American engineer with wide-ranging historical and sociocultural interests. He earned a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1968, and became Aleksandar S. Vesic professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University. Petroski teaches traditional engineering subjects, as well as courses for nonengineering students, that place the field in a broad social context. One of the major themes that transcends his technical and nontechnical publications is the role of failure and its contribution to successful design. This is the central theme in his study To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design, which is accessible to both engineers and general readers. This theme is also incorporated into Petroski's The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (1990), which relates the history of the pencil to broader sociocultural themes. The theme is expanded further, illustrating the relationship of engineering to our everyday life in The Evolution of Useful Things (1992). Petroski's most recent book, Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering, is planned for publication in 1994. After that, he will begin a study of the complex interrelationships between engineering and culture. Widely recognized and supported by both the technical and humanities communities, Petroski's work has effectively conveyed the richness and essence of engineering in its societal context for the general reader.

Preface
Books on Bookshelves
From Scrolls to Codices
Chests, Cloisters, and Carrels
Chained to the Desk
The Press of Books
Studying Studies
Up Against the Wall
Books and Bookshops
Bookstack Engineering
Shelves That Move
The Care of Books
Order, Order
Notes
Bibliography
Illustrations
Index

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